Saturday, February 23, 2008

MLB Previews: New York Yankees

New York Yankees Last season: 94 -68, AL Wild Card. Lost to Cleveland in playoffs. 2008 Outlook: Still sporting somewhat of a potent lineup, with returning regulars Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Bobby Abreu, the major question marks are at first base, DH and in the starting pitching staff. Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain are projected to be starters along with Chien-Ming Wang and aging veterans Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte. While Chamberlain will probably reprise his role as set-up man for closer Mariano Rivera, Hughes and Kennedy may have competition from Carl Pavano, who is expected to at least contend for a starting role. Pitching is not the Yankees strong suit. At first, Jason Giambi is back, but he's going to be DH-ing mostly, leaving the job open to prospect Juan Miranda, Morgan Ensberg or Shelley Duncan. It's a hole the Yankees need filled. Biggest Changes: Manager Joe Girardi takes over from Joe Torre and handling this team (to say nothing of the owner and the media) has been known to be trying. Girardi has been given a large dose of control, but meddling from the front office is about as predictable as rain in April. Girardi will have his hands full. Rookie/Free Agent Prospects: Ian Kennedy may turn out to be either a bust or a gem in the rough. The Yankees are also expecting much from Chamberlain, while Ensberg and Duncan are likely to fill in at first and DH. Both could become full-time starters. Juan Miranda, a defector from Cuba, signed in the off-season to a $2 million contract and he'll spend time on one of the Yankees' farm teams. He's another iffy prospect. Best fantasy bets: Obviously, the #1 pick in most fantasy leagues is going to be A-Rod, and you really can't fault the numbers he puts up every year. Besides Rodriguez, Posada is a very steady backstop, and Cano could be a breakout at 2nd base. If you need a closer, Mariano Rivera is a great choice, not only because he's so talented, but because with the Yanks' pitching, he's going to get plenty of opportunities. Three Excellent Links: NY Post Yankees coverage Ultimate Yankees - history, stats, bios, news Next: Toronto Blue Jays

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